Meet Colleen Rue, OE Ambassador, overall awesome-sauce, American entrepreneur superstar ...IS THAT A JOB?
I’m Colleen Rue…..but a lot of people don’t recognize me by name. It’s not that I don’t know people or have friends or anything like that. There are just more times than I can count where I’ve been recognized by my voice before my name.
A few years ago, I went to an appointment with my doctor for a check-up. Okay….it was the lady doctor, but whatever. My normal doctor wasn’t available (i.e. probably delivering a baby) so I saw the Nurse Practitioner. As she sat across from me she stopped and said, “Do I know you? You seem so familiar.” I was hoping the familiarity was not coming from my state of undress, so I tried another angle.
“Do you listen to the radio? Are you a runner?”
“That’s it!”, she said. “You are on the radio!”
I felt like I dodged some kind of bullet lying there on the table. I was grateful it was just my voice she recognized.
When I was much younger and not at the gynecologist's office, my dad would always accuse me of having “diarrhea of the mouth”! As disgusting as that term actually could be, it was true. If there was a conversation to be had, you’d better be sure, I was going to be a part of it.
I never thought of my voice as anything but my diarrhea-of-the-mouth-doesn’t-
she-take-a-breath voice. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine it becoming the basis of my career.
After falling into a pseudo-career in radio, my event-sound-guy husband handed me a microphone at the finish line of a half-marathon (I had just completed) and told me to take over announcing participant names. Never shy with a mic in my hand, I strolled into the chute with my own finisher’s medal around my neck and the rest, is well, history. I am the race announcer!
My husband has always been an entrepreneur owning his own business since high school, but that wasn’t for me. I liked the 9-5. I liked my office, my desk and my schedule. Until...I found race announcing!
Have you found your true calling in life yet? That one thing that you are certain you were placed on this earth to do? That’s what being a race announcer is to me! It’s that one thing that sparks so much joy in my heart that I am sitting here in awe and somewhat speechless (that doesn’t happen often).
Sure, being an “announcer” as your career is kind of weird. People always look at me a bit sideways when I explain that, in a nutshell, I announce people’s names at finish lines and make bad jokes in between. But let me tell you what my job actually looks like. My offices are mountain top trails and National Parks. My clients are passionate pyschos who think nothing of getting up at 3am to stand in sub-freezing temperatures eating a banana and drinking warmish coffee. Heck! They even laugh at my bad jokes. But these “clients” are everything to me. To see them cross finish lines and face challenges that they never thought they could overcome is inspiring. To watch them light up with recognition when they hear my voice cut through the nasty weather is magical and intoxicating.
Being a race announcer has taken me across the country to some of the most beautiful outdoor places the globe has to offer. Many times I get to travel with my husband and a lot of times with my 2 children. As a family we have hiked the Tetons, spotted bears in Glacier National Park, pushed through the sand of the Mojave desert and heard the call of birds only the internet can name.
This “job” has introduced me to lifelong friends, like Mike from Outdoor Element. It has put me in the same room as small business owners and product developers who are creating magic in their own right. (I mean, have you seen the Firebiner?) Who could have thought so much would come from standing at a finish-line and calling names.
Like any business, racing and events have their challenges. Weather, red tape, the economy, you name it…...we feel the effect. With COVID-19 altering all events for the foreseeable future, 2020 has been an interesting year. What is a small business owner to do when they rely on tourism and travel dollars? When your entire year plan gets flushed down the Coronavirus toilet.
We get creative! We find another way over the mountain.
2020 was the year that I had a full calendar of events and could comfortably jump “full-time” into the race announcing business. Now I find myself with a calendar full of cancellations and more uncertainty to come. I have to continue to adapt and find new ways to share “my voice”.
Just last week I launched VirtualRaceAnnouncer.com. I honestly didn’t know if I could take this highly personal business virtual. I was afraid it was a terrible idea. At one point even telling my husband I just didn’t want to do it. He reminded me, we had NOTHING to lose.
Like any mountain we want to climb or product we dream of engineering, we have to take our talents and our passions and put them out into the world. The world needs more adventurers. More entrepreneurs. More individuals to share themselves whether that be in the shape of a piece of outdoor gear or the sound of a voice (even a virtual one).
Colleen Rue is an Event Announcer from BEAUTIFUL St. George, Utah. You can find her at the finish line of many local St. George events as well as all across the country with Vacation Races, 29029 Everesting and Ragnar Trail. She is the wife of one, mother of two and always looking for a great trail to run or mountain to climb. She loves the outdoors! Follow her @colleenrue on Instagram, find her on Facebook or on the web at raceannouncing.com. If you want to send a shout-out to someone, personalized by Colleen, go to VirtualRaceAnnouncer.com
#VirtualRaceAnnouncer #VirtualShoutout #CRueRun